52 Weekends Away: Tasmania's best weekend getaways for 2020

The Apple Isle serves up a crisp offering of mountain lodges, coastal treasures and splendid isolation, primed for any kind of explorer to sink their teeth into.

Cradle Mountain Lodge

Cradle Mountain Road, Cradle Mountain; (03) 6492 2100; cradlemountainlodge.com.au

THE LOCATION Positioned within cooee of the wondrous UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania's central highlands region, this classic lodge is one of Australia's most historic wilderness retreats. It's a three-hour drive from Launceston.

THE PLACE After a multimillion-dollar refurbishment last year, the most coveted cabins are the rustically luxurious King Billy Suites (named after a species of sturdy Tasmanian pine). These spacious timber cabins – one of four different styles of accommodation available – feature all of the mandatory five-star mod cons as well as double-sided wood fires and private hot tubs. 

THE EXPERIENCE Unsurprisingly, given the sublime setting, here it's all about the great – in this case, really great – outdoors, as showcased by the adjoining spectacular wilderness. On offer daily at the lodge are a variety of expertly guided walks and tours, including kayaking on crystalline Dove Lake below Cradle Mountain itself, weather depending. Of course, you're welcome to loll around the lodge, perhaps in the main lounge in front of one of the regularly stoked crackling fireplaces with a good book and a Tassie red on hand.

DON'T MISS As commodious as the upgraded lodge and its amenities are – it's especially cosy in the colder months – the pervasive native wildlife, including wombats with joeys during the birthing season, is what wins the hearts of most visitors.

FROM $289 a night. - Anthony Dennis

Spacious, secluded and light-filled, the Coast House, which riffs off the area's historic apple sheds, is discreetly luxurious.

The light-filled Coast House, which riffs off the area's historic apple sheds, is discreetly luxurious. Photo: Supplied

Coast House Tasmania 

Beaupre Point, Lymington; 0409 446 290; coasthousetasmania.com

THE LOCATION An hour's drive south of Hobart, and 10 minutes from charming Cygnet, the private peninsula of Beaupre Point lies at the meeting of the Huon River and Port Cygnet.

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THE PLACE Judi and John Clark would sail past Beaupre Point from their home in Cygnet and dream of owning this blissful stretch of land. When it came up for sale in 2011, they leapt, and built a home for themselves and accommodation for guests on the 16-hectare site. Designed by their architect son, Andy Lehman, the adults-only, two-bedroom Coast House riffs off the area's historic apple sheds: charcoal-coloured, peaked corrugated iron roof, timber-slatted walls. Glass sliding doors open to merge the house with the outdoors. 

THE EXPERIENCE Spacious, secluded and light-filled, with Tasmanian oak cabinets and a vaulted ceiling of hoop pine, the Coast House is discreetly luxurious. Dinner is made, the table is set, the pantry and fridge are stocked – all covered by the tariff – and the fireplace is glowing. There's nothing to do but pop the sparkling and soak up the view, inside on the leather couches or outside by the cast-iron fire pit that's lit for your arrival. The house is generously supplied with books, board games, music and movies (Netflix and DVDs).

DON'T MISS A wooden-spoon carving class with master craftsman David Rauenbusch of Phoenix Creations in Cygnet.

FROM $575 a night; minimum two-night stay. - Gabriella Coslovich

In the splendid isolation, rise with the mist and salute the sun from a platform, and bathe among boulders in the showpiece granite tub.

Set on a remote, 100-hectare estate, this sandstone tower is well kitted-out for maximum pleasure. 

The Keep

535 New England Road, Goulds Country; 0431 468 272; thekeeptasmania.com.au 

THE LOCATION An anxious medieval monarch could not have positioned a keep full of crown jewels in a more protected and remote spot. From the coastal town of St Helens in north-east Tasmania, it's a 45-minute drive inland on mostly dirt roads.

THE PLACE On a wild, 100-hectare estate, this fantasy sandstone tower for two sits atop a rocky pinnacle with majestic views of sky and untamed forest to the Bay of Fires and beyond. It's kitted for maximum pleasure, with one-off Tasmanian furnishings and original artworks, a sleek kitchen and a pantry stocked with a roll call of regional snacks and drinks. 

THE EXPERIENCE There's plenty to see and do nearby, but such splendid isolation is worth preserving. Bathe among boulders in the showpiece granite tub. Mix sundowners beside the outdoor fireplace as shadows stretch from bush to beach, or curl up beside the gas log fire indoors. Rise with the mist and salute the sun from a platform, or watch it emerge over the Bay of Fires from the comfort of your bed.

DON'T MISS Walk on three well-defined forest tracks below the pinnacle, among tree ferns, towering eucalypts and what's reputed to be the oldest and tallest living myrtle beech in Tasmania.

FROM $935 a night. - Luke Slattery

This heritage-yellow hotel stands out like a beacon on the stump of the Nut.

This colonial hotel sits at the base of the Nut, the stump of an ancient volcano. Photo: Supplied

Ship Inn Stanley

16 Alexander Terrace, Stanley; 0439 749 140; shipinnstanley.com.au

THE LOCATION The coastal town of Stanley, 215 kilometres north-west of Launceston, lies on Tommeginne Country at the foot of the stump of an ancient volcano called the Nut. On its lowest slopes, within a strip of colonial buildings stretching from beach to port, this heritage-yellow hotel stands out like a beacon.  

THE PLACE In the mid-19th century, the grandfather of Australia's only Tasmanian-born PM, Joseph Lyons, used ship ballasts along with basalt from the Nut to build a structure sturdy enough to buffer guests and revellers from Bass Strait blows. Owners Kerry and Alistair Houston restored what they could, resurrected the original name and opened in July 2019. They have since created Roaring Tom's, a self-contained apartment, and also have solid plans for an accessible and pet-friendly apartment.

THE EXPERIENCE A wooden staircase separates ground floor and attic suites, each named for an old story, local in-joke or the view out to water, hills or ancient rock. Suites have simple wooden and wicker furniture, splashes of wallpaper and lashings of linen in shades collectively reminiscent of an overcast day at sea. Alongside new necessities are original paintings, historic prints and vintage magazines. Kitchenettes are stocked with Tasmanian wine, beer and breakfast supplies.

DON'T MISS Hike up the Nut and catch sunrise from Pinmatik/Rocky Cape Lookout or sleep in and ride the chairlift (September to May) to the circuit track. 

FROM $190 a night. - Elspeth Callender

As Tasmania continues to have a boom in boutique properties, this hotel remains one of the most memorable.

As Tasmania continues its boutique-property boom, this old-school hotel remains one of the most memorable.

HALL OF FAME: The Henry Jones Art Hotel

25 Hunter Street, Hobart; (03) 6210 7700; thehenryjones.com

THE LOCATION Sooner or later, everyone ends up at Hobart's waterfront. Check into the Henry Jones Art Hotel and the best of the harbour is laid out for you, with the ferry to MONA a few steps away and the Salamanca Market an easy stroll along the water.

THE PLACE This row of Georgian warehouses – once the IXL Jam Factory – is an object lesson in how to carry off an industrial conversion, with elements such as rough-hewn sandstone walls, timber-beamed ceilings and tin features playing off more refined contemporary touches, including silk bed coverings and glass-walled bathrooms with elliptical tubs. Most rooms have water or mountain views. 

THE EXPERIENCE It's easy to forget but back in 2004, when the Henry Jones Art Hotel opened, Tasmania was not at the top of anyone's list of holiday hotspots. Since then, the island has seen a boom in boutique properties, but this hotel remains one of the most memorable, thanks to its old-school service (chocolates at turndown!) and a serious commitment to contemporary art; the 500 works scattered throughout the rooms and public areas are all available for purchase. 

DON'T MISS Discover more about the hotel's history and art on the daily tour, free for guests.

FROM $360 a night.  - Ute Junker

Have an ongoing appreciation of artful repurposing? These upcycled shipping containers with spacious interiors are the perfect place to stay.

Love artful repurposing? These upcycled shipping containers are surprisingly spacious. Photo: Kevin O'Daly

Coastal Pods Wynyard

1 Goldie Street, Wynyard; (03) 6442 2351; coastalpods.com

THE LOCATION The town of Wynyard, 150 kilometres north-west of Launceston at the mouth of the Inglis River on the traditional lands of the Tommeginne people, is famous for its tulip festival. However, a stay in its Coastal Pods, down where the fishing boats dock, reveals other aspects. 

THE PLACE Owners Cyndia Hilliger and Justin McErlain were inspired by Christchurch's shipping-container architecture. They customised plans purchased from architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe and built two freestanding, self-contained pods – Port and Starboard – on the lawn beside their retro riverside motel. Each comprises two upcycled shipping containers with polished plywood floors, spray foam insulation, soundproofing, double-glazing all around and an outdoor fire pit. 

THE EXPERIENCE There's initial surprise at the interior spaciousness, ongoing appreciation of artful repurposing, and a gradual realisation that Port pod is no half-arsed attempt at equal access. It's as handsome and well-appointed as Starboard – the main bathroom is more spa-like than utilitarian – plus furniture can be moved, beds raised, microwave lowered, equipment hired; the whole shebang. The Wharf Hotel is in easy reach for dinner, or stay in, open the container doors to watch freighters heading into Bass Strait and wonder how many times the second bedroom has done that trip.

DON'T MISS From January 2021, the nearby yacht club will have sailing training programs, with equipment supplied, for people of all abilities. 

FROM $320 a night. - Elspeth Callender

The curtains part cinematically each time you enter the room, unveiling the hotel's prime asset: the view.

Each time you enter your room the curtains part cinematically, unveiling the hotel's prime asset: the view. Photo: Francois Fourie

Crowne Plaza Hobart

110 Liverpool Street, Hobart; (03) 6213 4200; ihg.com

THE LOCATION Welcome to a newly opened Hobart hotel that hovers above the city's central shopping district, bringing almost everything in Tasmania's capital within easy reach.

THE PLACE Launched in July, the 235-room hotel is one of Tasmania's largest, rising 12 floors above Hobart's shopping arcades. It offers guests the city's first club lounge experience and has prime views from each room.

THE EXPERIENCE The Crowne Plaza may be large by Tasmanian standards but it comes with great warmth. Service is very personal, and while the rooms are simple in design, they maximise their prime asset, which is the view. Chaises longues are laid out before floor-to-ceiling windows, and the curtains part cinematically each time you enter the room, unveiling the outside scene. Mountain-view rooms have the most expansive outlook, with waterfront-view rooms delivering more city rooftops than water scenes (but it's still a fine vista over Hobart). The hotel's Core restaurant and bar, which focuses on seasonal Tasmanian produce, is beside the fourth-floor reception area, with the adjoining outdoor bar, Deck, sprawled along a skinny terrace atop the roof of Hobart's Myer department store.

DON'T MISS This far south, rooftop bars are a rare commodity, and Aura will be Hobart's first when it opens at the Crowne Plaza this summer.

FROM $182 a night. - Andrew Bain

The hotel is a perfectly executed blend of regency-style sandstone facades with minimalist interiors.

This Salamanca Place bolt hole features original 19th-century timber and stonework as well as furniture handmade from local wood. Photo: Supplied

Moss Hotel

29 and 39 Salamanca Place, Hobart; 1300 772 270; mosshotel.com.au

LOCATION Overlooking Hobart's harbour basin, this boutique hotel is a prime bolt hole from which to enjoy the Tasmanian capital's numerous delights.

THE PLACE In a building dating back to 1835, Moss Hotel is a perfectly executed blend of regency-style sandstone facades with minimalist interiors. There are 41 rooms in two adjacent properties overlooking Salamanca Place. Rooms range from smaller "lofts" to larger spaces with deep baths and sunny balconies. Much of the original timber and stonework has been neatly restored into the rooms, which feature handmade furniture in local wood such as blackwood and sassafras.

THE EXPERIENCE Moss Hotel, the latest addition to which opened in December last year, was created within structures built in the mid-19th century for use as stores and taverns. Hence, each space is unique. There is no bar or restaurant on site but step out the front door and you'll find fresh produce at Salamanca Market (on Saturday mornings), seafood on Elizabeth Street Pier and more formal dining options on Murray and Harrington streets.

DON'T MISS The 600-metre Russell Falls walking circuit, in Mount Field National Park, an hour's drive from Hobart, is stunning to behold and suitable for all fitness levels.

FROM $190 a night. - Tim Elliott

The thriller and biography are the perfect way to explore Tasmania's rich culture and landscapes.

Thriller or biography? Whatever your pick, each of these books offers a perfect way to explore Tasmania's rich culture and landscapes.

To read while you're here:

Jane Harper's crime thriller The Survivors is set in a small coastal town in Tasmania. When a body washes up on a beach, ugly secrets threaten to overwhelm the community. Harper's descriptions of the rugged coastal geography, an integral part of the book, will have you yearning to discover it.

Meanwhile, Tasmanian author Cassandra Pybus's lively biography rescues Truganini from her traditional portrayal as a tragic symbol of the extinction of Tasmania's Indigenous people, instead presenting her as a "lively, intelligent, sensual woman".  - Nicole Abadee

Looking for escapes further afield? We have you covered: NSW/ACT, VIC, QLD, SA, WA, NT.

​​To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

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